Before you talk about the solution, point out the problem

Lots of people who you think should be interested in your software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution, couldn’t care less.

It doesn’t matter that they perfectly fit your “ideal customer” persona.

It doesn’t matter that your solution is full of features built especially for them.

It doesn’t even matter that you’re sure it’ll be a huge help to their business.

Despite all that, they’ll still ignore you.

They don’t care about your features, your user interface, your expert training and support, your attractive price, or anything else you’re just dying to show them.

At least they’re not interested yet.  

Identify the pain

Before prospective customers will pay any attention at all to your solution, they first need to recognize that they have a problem.  So first it’s your job to show them that problem. 

You need to make them see that the way they’re doing something right now is the wrong way.  The tool or process they’re using is hurting their organization. 

  • It’s costing money.
  • It’s losing customers.
  • It’s wasting time.
  • It’s risking penalties.
  • It’s losing them good candidates.
  • It’s costing market share.
  • It’s keeping them from control.
  • It’s blinding them to opportunities.

Show it's an urgent problem

In fact, you not only need to show them that there’s a problem.  You need to point out that it’s an urgent problem and it needs immediate attention. 

A reminder: most prospects for SaaS solutions have a lot of other things on their plates.  They are not assigned the full-time job of evaluating technology. They spend most of their time managing HR, Finance, Sales, Marketing, or whatever function they’re responsible for. (See “Your prospect has a day job.”) 

In other words, they’re always looking at a long list of problems to be dealt with.  And only the two or three at the top of the list get any attention.  If the problem you solve is way down on that list, the prospect just doesn’t have the time.

When do we get to talk about our product?

I can hear you whining right now (I worked in tech marketing for a long time before I started this blog.): 

If I need to spend so much time talking about the prospects’ urgent problems, when do I get to talk about my wonderful product?!

After all, when a prospective customer visits your website, watches your video, looks at your email, stops in your trade show booth, or picks up your phone call, all you’ve got is maybe a minute or two of their time.  How much of that can you give to hearing about the prospect’s problems?

My advice:  give most of that time to talking about problems– maybe all of it.  

Because until the prospect recognizes that they have an urgent problem – until they’re nodding their head thinking “this is something I need to fix ASAP” – they won’t be paying attention to anything you’re saying about your solution.